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Department of Theatre and Dance

  • Black Snow Poster Image, writer at a desk in silhouette on a stage

Cancelled: Black Snow | March 19-28, 2020

In accordance with the University's closure due to coronavirus mitigation efforts, performances of Black Snow have been cancelled.  Check back for more information about possible rescheduling of this event.


The University of South Carolina Department of Theatre and Dance will present Black Snow, a farcical look at theatrical life behind the curtains, March 19-28 at the Center for Performance Experiment.

Show times are 8 p.m. March 19-22 and March 24-27, with both 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. performances on March 28.  Admission is $5, with tickets available only at the door.  The Center for Performance Experiment is located at 718 Devine St., between Huger and Gadsden Streets, near the Colonial Life Arena.  Patrons are advised to arrive early, as seating is limited.

Keith Reddin’s adaptation of legendary Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov's 1936 novel is a semi-autobiographical account of Bulgakov's experience writing plays for the Moscow Art Theatre, headed in part by influential director Konstantin Stanislavski. In Black Snow, a writer named Sergei is persuaded to submit his novel to the "Independent Theatre" to have it adapted for the stage, but quickly finds himself and his creation subject to the whims of the theatre's figureheads. Censored for its criticism of the Soviet government, the original novel didn't actually see publication until 1967, more than 25 years after Bulgakov's death.

“…wonderful, wonderful and – at the risk of overselling – wonderful…” – The Chicago Tribune

“…Reddin has crafted an incredibly funny and effective farce from Bulgakov’s railings against the autocrats and institutions…” — Wall Street Journal


While it’s easy to get caught up in Bulgakov’s real-life struggles with an oppressive regime, director Steven Pearson says that, rather than making a weighty historical statement, the play’s first priority is simply farce.

“I just think we need to laugh a little bit these days,” says Pearson, a professor in South Carolina’s theatre program.  “As artists, we certainly take ourselves seriously in relation to the art we create, but we need to be artful in not taking ourselves too seriously.”

At its heart, Pearson says the great humor of the show comes very naturally from the real, behind-the-scenes struggles of making theatre.  It’s a world that becomes quite “meta” in execution.

"As artists, we certainly take ourselves seriously in relation to the art we create, but we need to be artful in not taking ourselves too seriously." -- Director Steven Pearson

“It’s about what it takes to actually make something,” he says, “and it’s this meta circle because we’re making a play about the impossibility of making a play.  It’s good for people to see what’s involved, and then to have the juxtaposition of a well-executed comic production about the impossible nature of creating that very thing.”

Appearing in the production are second-year graduate acting students Can Yasar (as Sergei), Sean Astor and Iullia Khamidullina, undergraduate theatre students Cory Peeler and Kelsey McCloskey, and recent UofSC alum John Romanski

“It’s a great opportunity for everyone to come live and breathe and laugh together at the same time and in the same place,” says Pearson.  “If we can get our audiences to laugh together, then we’ve accomplished our task.”

For more information about Black Snow or the theatre program at the University of South Carolina, contact Kevin Bush by phone at 803-777-9353 or via email at bushk@mailbox.sc.edu.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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